Hammertoe is a deformity of the foot that causes toes to bend or curl in a downward fashion rather than point forward. This deformity is typically the result of a muscle imbalance between the tendons on top and the tendons on the bottom of the toe. Hammer toes can be flexible or rigid and they can affect any toe on your foot. Most cases of hammertoe are reported on the second or third toe.

Women are at a higher risk of developing hammertoe compared to men—this is usually a result of shoe choice. Hammertoes tend to worsen over time, so it’s important to seek medical treatment from our Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY podiatrists, Dr. Speilfogel and Dr. Kleyner, when they first begin to form. Because of this, hammertoe can become a serious problem—this is especially true for people with diabetes. When further complications arise, it can affect your ability to walk, and we don’t want that.

Types and Causes of Hammertoe

There are generally two types of hammertoe: flexible and rigid. If the toe can still move at the joint, and the toe is still moveable, it is considered a flexible hammertoe. This form of hammertoe is in the beginning stages of its development and can be reversed non-surgically. If left untreated, however, your flexible hammertoe can become rigid, meaning the toe can no longer move on its own. These types of hammertoe in Manhattan and Brooklyn, usually require surgery to correct.

A hammertoe develops due to an imbalance of the muscles in the toes. Through the imbalancement, increased pressure develops on the tendons and joints in the toe, which is when a hammertoe develops. While poor shoe choice is typically the main cause of hammertoe, other common causes include:

  • Heredity
  • Trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Other foot conditions (such as bunions or corns)

Manhattan and Brooklyn Hammertoe Treatment

Treating hammertoe varies depending on the severity of your condition. To treat mild hammertoe, Dr. Speilfogel and Dr. Kleyner, your podiatrists in Brooklyn, NY, and Manhattan, NY, will start with conservative methods—such as padding or anti-inflammatory medications. Flexible hammertoe can be corrected by simply wearing properly fitting shoes. Other treatments involve gently stretching the toes to relieve pain and to reposition the toe.

If the toe has become rigid and is causing too much pain, Dr. Speilfogel and Dr. Kleyner, our foot doctors in Manhattan, NY and Brooklyn, NY, may choose to surgically remove the deformity. Surgery is performed to reposition the toe, remove deformed or injured bone, and realign tendons. Most procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and rarely require extended downtime or time away from work.

Contact us at Hamilton Foot and Ankle Associates in Brooklyn, New York and Manhattan, New York for hammertoe treatment.